Big Field Set for Singapore


Sweden's Fredrik Jacobson, who broke a run of second places with a victory in last month's Hong Kong Open, will go for back-to-back wins in the region at the US$900,000 Caltex Masters presented by Carlsberg, Singapore 2003, next week.
The 28-year-old Jacobson won the Omega Hong Kong Open, which like the Caltex Masters was joint sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian PGA, with a 16-under-par total of 260.
Jacobson joins a strong field for the Caltex Masters which boasts 10 players who have tasted victory on the European Tour in the last two years.
The impressive list includes India's Arjun Atwal who will be back to defend the title he won with some style at Laguna National Golf and Country Club last year. This year's tournament will also be held at Laguna from January 23-26.
World number three Ernie Els, who started his year with a bang with an
eight-stroke victory in the Mercedes Championships on the US PGA Tour at the weekend, had two early season wins in 2002 on the European Tour.
Alastair Forsyth of Scotland, like Atwal and Jacobson, won in Asia at last Year's Carlsberg Malaysian Open while Anders Hansen lifted the Volvo PGA Championship, Thomas Bjorn won the BMW International Open and Australia's Stephen Leaney lifted the Linde German Masters.
Winners from 2001 include Darren Fichardt of South Africa, Argentina's Jorge Berendt and Gregory Havret of France.
Jacobson had been runner up six times in his career before taking the Hong Kong Open title in early December.
'It's a big relief to finally win a tournament. I am going into my eighth season so it's nice to have a win after so many near misses. It's nice to have the first one done,' he said.
The Swede eclipsed a strong field which included defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain, six times Major winner Nick Faldo of England and hot Asian duo of Thongchai Jaidee and Jyoti Randhawa who were gunning for the Order of Merit title.
Jacobson and the other winners on the European Tour will be well aware that Els is the man to beat next week.
The 'Big Easy' was awesome in winning the Mercedes Championships, which was restricted to the 2002 Tour winners, with a record total of 31-under-par.
Els used his length to great advantage with four eagles, just two short of his total for the whole of last season on the US PGA Tour.